The seeming inability of sales and marketing teams to align has been the bane of executives and strategic planners everywhere. 90% of the time, the divisive complaint remains the same – marketing does not provide enough leads and when they do, the leads are often of poor quality while those in the marketing barracks complain that sales does little to truly convert genuine prospects, often losing lucrative deals and disregarding qualified prospects.
Well, when it comes to sales and marketing alignment, here’s my two cents!
1. Develop Communication Channels
A lack of proper communication is often what widens the gap between sales and marketing. Sales is much more likely to promote shot-term measures that fill the immediate need for profit, while marketing is usually drawn to long term endeavors that generate response and awareness, thereby fueling brand growth. You can combat this by having the teams work in close proximity thereby helping each other understand the mindset and processes that occur within each department.
2. Share Vital Information
One easiest ways that a marketing team can empower a sales team is by regularly passing along market intelligence and response measurements in terms of campaign metrics. While sales no doubt acquires customer intelligence through diligent research, nothing beats the kind of information that marketing has access to, including,
- Prospect activity, trends and histories
- Traffic at different points of engagement
- Social media activity and trends
- Expected activity with regard to stages within the sales cycle.
This sort of collaborative efforts will result in much shorter sales cycles and more prospects dropping through the end of the funnel. Similarly, sales can share their intelligence with marketing to help them create optimized, focused campaigns and sales portals.
3. Create A Metric Dashboard
Develop and implement a common interface where sales and marketing can view metrics that are integral to their department. This provides for a clear and accessible way to measure accountability and will help employees perform better.
4. Come Together Often
Ensure that your sales and marketing teams have a weekly or fortnightly meeting to assess performance and review results. Keep the meeting strictly informal and to encourage harmony, base it around a meal. In fact, a great idea is to have a department lunch on the second and fourth Friday of every month.
5. Outline Lead Criteria
Get your sales and marketing teams together to define a set of common criteria for lead generation. Moreover, sales and marketing should work together to plot our buyer profiles and industry characteristics that can help with lead nurturing and development. Since you have both teams working on the same sets of leads, you will eventually find that sales favor specific types of leads while marketing leans towards a different kind altogether. Allow both teams to pool resources and work together at capturing a variety of buyers and prospects.
6. Incentivize Common Goals
Finally, a great way to foster increased cooperation is to create incentives that take into account both sales and marketing goals. This will keep both departments on their toes by creating mutual interdependence and will lead to far more effective.